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Holden's VF Commodore: What To Expect.



It’s not long now (at the time of writing) until the Holden VF Commodore range hits showrooms around the country; it’s expected to be the last Commodore made, designed and engineered in Australia……unless it sells well enough to return as a wholly Australian car.
The outgoing VE Commodore finished up production in May after close to seven years of production. Although the exterior is still a good looker, the interior specification and the march of technology have left it behind. Make no mistake, the forthcoming VF IS world class.VF Commodores
Holden has streamlined the range slightly, dropping the Omega and Berlina and launching the Evoke. It’s still powered by the 3.0L V6 and six speed automatic transmission combination whilst the the rest of the range stays with the 3.6L SIDI engine or 6.0L V8. The range has undergone a substantial weight saving regime, with aluminuim panels such as the bonnet, plus extra wind tunnel testing has provided a more slippery and aerodynamic shape (drag is now down to 0.309 compared to the VE’s 0.330 Cd), VF Evoke rearaiding in fuel economy. The Evoke is rated at 8.3L per 100 kilometres, matching and bettering some four cylinder cars. Electric steering, an electric handbrake and other subtle revisions such as redesigned wheel wells have seen overall fuel usage reduced by 23% since the VE’s launch.

It’s a smarter car as well, with rear view camera and Park Assist standard across the range plus some models feature a rear radar system, providing a warning of oncoming sideways directional traffic. Also on board some models is a blind spot alert system and lane departure system. The Commodore is also the first GM large car to feature tech such as Park Assist, making it a world leader in its class. Keyless start becomes more common; however one form of technology that has been around for a while, HUD or Heads Up Display, is reserved for the Calais V and SS-V spec cars. It provides a comprehensive information package, such as speed, current transmission gear, phone information and more. These two also gain Forward Collision Alert technology, informing the driver if there is a obstacle or vehicle ahead that has come into the Commodore’s sensor range; operating at 40 kmh or above, the system increases the brake system’s hydraulic pressure if the sensors warn of a potential threat, reducing the response time for the brakes to activate. A new and quite intelligent addition is Remote Vehicle Start. Available for Commodores with an automatic transmission, the car can be started from up to 100 metres away plus will engage the aircon and heated seats (if fitted). Parking sensors are standardVF Commodore collision alert, including on the ute.

VF SS-VRide and handling have been worked on across the board; there’s Touring for the Evoke, Calais and Calais V, calibrated for a light day to day driving feel. Sports Tune is on board for the SS, SS-V and SV6 to provide more handling and steering feedback whilst the SS-V Redline series gets a Competitive setting for those that are more of an enthusiastic driving style, providing better feedback and steering input. Brakes have been uprated as have the suspension isolation points, working hand in hand with acoustical engineering to provide a quieter cabin whilst Hill Start Assist and Hill Hold Control add to the driver safety experience as does Trailer Sway Control, which cuts engine power and engages the brakes if it senses any instability from a towed item.VF Evoke MyLink

Much has been made of the VF’s revamped interior; with re-rated seat cushions, material and a redesigned console and dash. The aircon vents have been relocated whilst the centre dash cops a large multifunction touchscreen, varying between mono to full colour, depending on model. VF SS-V dashAs mentioned, the VF gets an electronic parking brake, removing the jaded and unpopular hand brake design of the VE. Also, the centre console redesign moves the window switches to the driver’s door, another long overdue change. MyLink gives the driver/passenger more options for music, including Pandora and Stitcher (internet based radio services) plus enhanced interactivity with Siri EyesFree.

Finally, a price reduction, with up to $10K being slashed from the upper end whilst the well featured entry level model, the Evoke, has been reduced by $5k, with a starting price of $34990 and the Calais is certain to be  a sharp bet with $39990 on the ticket. The Caprice exterior remains almost untouched but VF SV6 Sportwagon dashcops the Calais interior and some extra fruit to justify its $59990 (V series spec) asking price. Servicing gets capped pricing for the first four services over three years or sixty thousand kilometres with intervals at fifteen thousand kilometres or nine months.

With the majority of Holden and Ford large cars, plus a commendable number of Toyota large cars, sold for fleet purposes, Holden clearly hopes that the world class refinements, additions and better value per dollar will reverse the trend towards the Japanese and Korean opposition that have made such a huge dent in the segment’s numbers. Right now, it’s worth more than a second thought to go to Holden for your fleet purchase and assist in, potentially, keeping this iconic brand here.